EL RENO — The state medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Nichols Hills Fire Chief Keith Bryan testified Friday that microscopic fibers found in his brain were consistent with a blanket being held over the muzzle of the gun used to shoot him.
Police searching the Bryan home in Mustang after the shooting found a blanket with apparent bullet holes in a clothes dryer, along with a latex glove, a spent shell casing and the gun later shown to be the weapon used to shoot Bryan about 10 p.m. Sept. 20, 2011.
The evidence found in the dryer contradicts the account of the shooting given by the victim's wife, Rebecca Bryan, who is on trial on a charge of murder. The gun was a .380 caliber Ruger she owned and often carried with her.
Bryan, 54, was married to Keith Bryan, 52, for 33 years before the shooting. She blamed an intruder who she said walked into the house at 1320 W Rose Hill Drive and shot her husband before apologizing and saying the fire chief should have hired him.
Keith Bryan was taken to a hospital, where he died the next morning.
Rebecca Bryan told investigators the intruder came into the house through the garage, shot her husband and left the way he came in. She did not say the gun was covered by a blanket, and her story would not allow for the gun to end up in the dryer, which was not on the way from the living room to the garage.
Dr. Eric Pfeifer, the state's chief medical examiner and a forensic pathologist, told jurors Friday that he performed the autopsy on Keith Bryan the day after he died.
While examining the path of the bullet through Bryan's head, Pfeifer found microscopic fibers both at the entry wound on the right side of his head and along the path the bullet took through his brain.
Pfeifer said the presence of the fibers is consistent with the prosecution's theory that the blanket found in the Bryans' dryer was covering the muzzle of the gun used to shoot Keith Bryan.
On cross examination, Pfeifer said he couldn't say for certain whether the fibers came from a blanket, but they would not be there if there was nothing between Bryan's head and the muzzle of the gun.
“The bullet carried with it those fibers,” Pfeifer said.
The jury also heard testimony Friday from Kathy Thomas, a psychologist who works with police and other emergency personnel.
Thomas is a defense witness who was allowed to testify before the prosecution rested its case because of scheduling complications.
Bryan's attorney, Gary James, called Thomas to help explain some of the strange behavior reported by Becky Bryan's friends who were with her after the shooting. One friend testified earlier in the week that Becky Bryan was talking on the phone and laughing while retelling the story of her husband's shooting with graphic details.
Another friend testified that on the way to the hospital after the shooting, Becky Bryan showed her a photo of another man's penis and said she had sex with the man earlier that day.
Thomas said everyone handles traumatic situations differently, and it's not unusual for police, firefighters or their families to use humor in tough situations.
“Sometimes the option is laugh, cry or throw up. Comedy is certainly more appealing,” Thomas said.
On cross examination, Thomas said she could not explain the specific behavior displayed by Becky Bryan after the shooting. Thomas said she has never seen someone laugh when informed of a loved one's death, and talking about having sex with another man in that situation is “bizarre.”
“It seemed to be she wasn't that concerned about her husband,” Thomas said. “It's unusual behavior.”
The trial is scheduled to continue Monday morning.